Having written about mountain bike tires last month I thought it only fitting to add my chart of road bicycle tire pressure settings here as well. Proper tire air pressure will increase the performance of any road bike. It’s the fastest, easiest, and cheapest tune-up/upgrade you can perform on your bike. Do yourself a favor and set your tire air pressure before your next road ride and see what a difference it makes.

Let’s talk about road tires:

  • Overinflated tires:
    • Reduce rolling resistance but you’ll need ultra smooth roads to notice any potential gains
    • Give a harsher feel to your ride if you encounter bumps
  • Underinflated tires:
    • Will cause you to have handling/control problems
    • Could damage the rims on your bicycle
    • Increase rolling resistance, requiring more effort on your part to propel your bicycle
    • Cause uneven wear patterns on your tires that could lead to premature failure
  • In case you’ve ever wondered about the tire inflation capacities of CO2 cylinders:
    • 700 x 23 Tire size
      • 12 gram cylinder will inflate up to 94 psi
      • 16 gram cylinder will inflate up to 130 psi
      • 25 gram cylinder – NOT recommended for road tire use
    • 700 x 26 Tire size
      • 12 gram cylinder will inflate up to 90 psi
      • 16 gram cylinder will inflate up to 123 psi
      • 25 gram cylinder – NOT recommended for road tire use

The factors to consider when selecting tire pressure are:

  • Rider weight
    • What you weigh is important in determining air pressure. Don’t worry so much about what the bicycle weighs before you get on it.
    • There’s a certain amount of deflection in every tire profile that’s optimal for balancing grip, efficiency, comfort and durability. That deflection is based on the tire’s construction and the weight of the rider.
  • Road conditions
    • Unless you ride on perfectly smooth road surfaces you’re going to have to account for the bone-rattling bumps along your route.
  • Tire size
    • The front and rear tire should be set at the same air pressure level.
    • Never simply squeeze a tire to ascertain its pressure level. Invest in a good quality pump with a built-in gauge and/or a hand held bicycle tire pressure tool.

Use this handy chart as a good starting point for road bike tire pressures
Riders weighing below 100lbs-45kg should inflate to minimum pressure indicated on tire sidewall.
Riders weighing above 190lbs-86kg (***) should inflate to maximum pressure indicated on tire sidewall.

Rider weight

(lbs-kg)

Clincher

700×28/32c

Clincher

700x25c

Clincher

700x23c

Clincher

700x20c

Clincher

650x23c

100lbs-45kg 58 psi(4 bar) 73 psi(5 bar) 87 psi(6 bar) 87 psi(6 bar) 87 psi(6 bar)
110lbs-50kg 58 psi(4 bar) 73 psi(5 bar) 87 psi(6 bar) 87 psi(6 bar) 87 psi(6 bar)
120lbs-54kg 62 psi 77 psi 91 psi 91 psi 91 psi
130lbs-59kg 66 psi(4.5 bar) 81 psi 95 psi(6.5 bar) 95 psi(6.5 bar) 95 psi(6.5 bar)
140lbs-64kg 72 psi 87 psi(6 bar) 101 psi 101 psi 101 psi
150lbs-68kg 76 psi 91 psi 105 psi 105 psi 105 psi
160lbs-73kg 80 psi(5.5 bar) 95 psi(6.5 bar) 109 psi(7.5 bar) 109 psi(7.5 bar) 109 psi(7.5 bar)
170lbs-77kg 85 psi 100 psi 114 psi 114 psi 114 psi
180lbs-82kg 87 psi(6 bar) 102 psi(7 bar) 116 psi(8 bar) 116 psi(8 bar) 116 psi(8 bar)
190lbs-86kg 95 psi(6.5 bar) 109 psi(7.5 bar) 118 psi 118 psi 118 psi
200lbs-90kg *** *** *** *** ***
210lbs-95kg *** *** *** *** ***
220lbs-100kg *** *** *** *** ***